The All New: Omni-Channel Customer Service Approach
Accenture Report states – Multi-channel approaches for prompt customer engagement is the clear trend in many industries. Every fast-growing company needs to work on this ASAP! They need to build strategies for a seamless and proactive omni-channel approach that provides a single, unified experience for their customers across all channels.
Today companies are facing a new threat in the global marketplace: the looming possibility of growing customer empowerment where customers are being provided with options from an array of companies and industry sectors. This multitude of choices has made it easy for the customers’ to switch between service providers.
And it’s an upshot of this that customers’ expectations have soared high and become intricate to ascertain. They’ve got the reigns of power and have influenced companies’ overall stature and become more globally diverse.
In such a scenario, companies who still stick to the decades-old, “one size fits all” service model are failing big time in responding effectively to the customers’ needs and behaviors. Either they need to buck up with prompt and proactive omni-channel customer service or be prepared to fall by the wayside.
In relation to this context, here’s what Kate Leggett VP, Principal Analyst @ Forrester states -
Customers want an accurate, relevant, and complete answer to their question upon first contact, so they can get back to what they were doing before the issue arose. Forrester data shows that 55% of US online adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their question (on any channel); 77% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.
Rise of self-service channels by the side of traditional mediums
Forrester states - Customers of all ages are increasingly using self-service channels (web, mobile, IVR) for customer service. While they are escalating the difficult issues to the customer support agents – (through chat, email or a phone), for generic queries, they are using the self service mediums more often.
Now there’s both pro and con to it.
Pro: With increased number of communication channels, Companies have more opportunities to help build stronger relationships with the customers to garner their long-term loyalty.
Con: Not really a con but definitely a challenge what companies are grappling with is delivering omni-channel experience. Providing a "pain-free" experience across multiple touch-points is no easy task.
2015 survey results from Dimension Data (also published in Forrester report) corroborate the same fact:
"Customers want a frictionless, easy, and immediate journey on channels of their choice. They want a connected omni-channel journey across channels.’’ Then only will companies get the much-longed loyalty and commitment.
So are companies trying to cater to this demand? Yes.
But the success ratio is low. While the larger enterprises are agile enough to adapt to this trend, SMBs are progressing at a slower pace. Not because that they do not want to but because they face a difficult choice between upgrading their past systems and investing in the future ones.
What does this mean: Omni-channel customer service only a USP of the larger enterprises? Nopes!
Kate Leggett brings forth three exclusive tricks to deliver prompt omni-channel customer service in the best possible way. Straight from the horse’s mouth – employ these pointers that are sure to make you hit the bull’s eye!
Customer service organizations have to go digital - the right way:
To cater to the omni-channel customers, organizations need to develop a customer-focused culture. Siloed technologies that don't share the same data use the same business processes or share the same UI and user experiences will not do. Businesses need to invest in enterprise-wide applications (like we suggest: the new-age Small Business CRM applications) that map the customers journey and help in rendering service to the customers as they seamlessly move between channels.
Customer service organizations must retrain agents:
Organizations need to invest time and effort in retraining the agents in omni-channel customer management. Kate writes – ‘’Agents can no longer only be proficient on a single channel, but must be retrained to handle inquiries over a broad range of media types.’’
Customer service organizations have to empower their agents:
Customer Service agents need nothing short of modern customer service technologies (Hint: web based CRM solutions). They function as omni-channel customer service solutions that involve unified queuing, routing and reporting. They streamline all the customer data in one shared repository that offer easy knowledge management and support agents through resolution paths.
Using these tools, Customer Support agents focus well on the conversation instead of struggling with multiple applications at hand.
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @convergehub